October 23, 2019, by Communications

Open Access week 2019: Which license?

In Monday’s blog, I explained that when you publish by traditional routes, as an author you typically grant all your rights as author and copyright owner to the publisher. It doesn’t belong to you anymore. A benefit of full open access publishing is that the copyright on your article is retained by you. You simply grant the publisher a license to publish your article and to identify itself as the original publisher.

The Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 formalises the terms and conditions of publishing open access articles. It allows you to permit others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of your work at the same time as making sure that you get the credit. To account for different levels of permission, there are major license options.

Here’s a short description to help you decide what is appropriate for your work:

CC BY Others can copy and redistribute your work and adapt it for any purpose, even commercially, as long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered.

CC BY-SA This is the same as CC BY, but with ‘Share Alike’. This means that if someone adapts your material, they must distribute the contributions under the same license as your original.

CC BY-ND This is the same as CC BY, but it prohibits them from adapting your work for any purpose. ‘No Derivatives’ means that if someone adapts or builds on the material, they cannot distribute it.

CC BY-NC This is the same as CC BY, but with a restriction to ‘Non-Commercial’ use only. This would prohibit any commercial use of your work.

Two further licenses combine attributions: For CC BY-NC-SA, the attribution specifies ‘Non-Commercial’ and ‘Share Alike’. For CC BY-NC-ND, the attribution specifies ‘Non-Commercial’ and ‘No Derivatives’.

Its not just journal articles that can be protected through creative commons – literary works, videos, photos, and audio can also be protected by the same licenses. Hopefully, this blog will help you to make more informed choices in publishing, as well as to help you comply with licenses that protect other people’s work.

For more details please refer to the RKE handbook.

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